The American Cancer Society announced on Friday that it opposes two bills in the Wyoming Legislature that seek to increase the age at which tobacco can be purchased in Wyoming and tax e-cigarette sales in the Cowboy State.
Senate File 50, which passed the Wyoming Senate, increases the age of sale for nicotine products in Wyoming from 18 to 21.
“Although the intention of the bill seems honorable, the details of the bill are deeply troubling,” the American Cancer Society said in a written statement. “First, the bill does not allow for tobacco retailer licensing including e-cigarette retailers and active enforcement including penalties for retailers selling to those (who are) underage.
“The penalties should be included suspending and revoking the license for non-compliant retailers.”
The bill does have provisions in it that levy fines against companies that do sell nicotine products to people under the age of 21. However, Wyoming Cancer Action Center Government Relations Director Jason Mincer said those aren’t strong enough. The bill should include provisions for outright revoking and suspending licenses of companies that are in violation of the proposed law, he said.
House Bill 73 imposes taxes on e-cigarettes, but as currently amended, e-cigarettes wouldn’t be taxed at the same rate as cigarettes. That’s a “tactic right out of Big Tobacco’s playbook,” the cancer society said in the release.
“Failing to tax e-cigarettes at the same rate as other tobacco products at 20% of their wholesale price poses a danger of exacerbating the youth e-cigarette epidemic,” the cancer society said.